Some Thoughts and Details on Selecting a PCB Assembly Shop
A printed circuit board connects the many components assembled on to the board. They are connected electrically using conductive tracks, pads and copper sheets that have been laminated onto a non-conductive substrate. There are three types of printed circuit boards: Single Sided, Double Sided and Multi-Layer, all of which have different functions for different types of electronics. Just as a computer might have many multi-layer printed circuit boards due to its high functionality, a small electronic application such as a small hand-held device would most likely only have a single-sided printed circuit board.
PCB assembly is a delicate and difficult process that should be coordinated between many suppliers, including the PCB designer, bare board manufacturer and the assembly engineer. In addition, the component specialists may also need to be involved. The assembly process can often also be done by the bare board fabricator (turn-key assembly) with the company procuring the components on your behalf. An alternative is to have your PCBs created by a circuit board-house and then assembled by an assembly shop. The fabricator will often ship your boards to the assembly shop for you and work with them to ensure an optimal final product.
Circuit assembly is a long and drawn out process that can be very difficult for someone who doesn’t specialize in this field. In order to have it correctly configured and to save yourself some time, it’s important that you find a company that specializes in assembling your printed circuit board or has a qualified partner to provide these services.